An underwriter is someone that authorizes its agents to write title insurance policies. They are the ones who assume the financial risk and ensure the property against insurable defects. If any undiscovered legal issues ever arise, a title insurance underwriter will defend the power of the title policy.
What a Title Insurance Underwriter Looks For
Errors in public records: Unfortunately, mistakes are easy to make and a simple clerical or filing error can affect the deed or survey of your property. A title insurance underwriter will pay close attention to try and catch any of these errors.
It’s possible for there to be a lien on your property that you are aware of. Most of the time, this happens when the prior owner has unpaid debts and the bank of other financing company will put a lien on the property. Even if you have already closed on the sale, you are still responsible for paying the debt.
There are several things that can affect the enforceability of deed, which can affect present and previous ownership. This can happen when a deed was made by a minor, a person of unsound mind, or one who signs under duress.
If there are heirs that are missing of unknown at the time of death, family members may contest the will for their own property rights. This can be especially complicated because it could occur years after you have purchased the property, and it may affect your rights to the property.
It is possible for forged or fabricated documents to be filed within public records, which can obscure the rightful owner of the property. If these forgeries come to light, they may put your rights to the property at risk.
When you purchase a property, you may unknowingly be taking on a former mortgage, lien or non-financial claim (like restrictions or covenants limiting the use of a property). A title insurance underwriter will do their best to ensure you are purchasing the property without this additional encumbrance.
Boundary or Survey Disputes
While you may view a survey prior to purchasing your property, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one in existence. A neighbor or other party may have a survey that claims that they have ownership to a portion of the land as in some sort of overlap.
If a property owner dies and there is no apparent will or heir, the property may be sold under the laws of intestacy (no will). Even after you have purchased this property, if the deceased owner’s will arises, there may be disputes over your right to the property.
Learn More About Title Insurance Underwriters
If you have any further questions about the role of a title insurance underwriter or what they examine, be sure to reach out to Mathis Title for more information.